muSOAing for 9/6/09

The next major component of your Services implementation strategy is the Simulator. Never underestimate the power and importance of this especially if you have an established competency center and are implementing a roadmap.

So what exactly is a simulator and how will you go about planning for and implementing it. Here is where I would like to borrow from a very common phrase, I would term this as a classic chicken and egg problem. In the ideal world the Services should be available and when the Portal comes along, the services are there to be consumed when needed. But this is almost always not the case, especially when new services are being designed and developed.

From a strategic viewpoint, services take a lot longer to actually implement than a similar Portal implementation where wireframes and the actual screens can be whipped up very quickly, at least this has been my personal experience in all my SOA implementations. As I have mentioned in previous postings, there are several reasons why Services implementations take time, even if you are ready with your Canonicals. Once the canonicals are ready for consumption, the next step is for the services implementation teams to do the appropriate mappings of the individual attributes against existing backend EIS APIs. This again may not be a straigtforward process of One Canonical to One API. Several backend APIs may have to be composed to map to one Canonical.

So once this Canonical to API mapping is done you have achieved a sort of Logical completion of your implementation task. There are still several steps you need to go through to make the service available for consumption, which is to actually implement the backend code for that particular web service SOAP Action call (web service API call). Here you are servicing the elements described in the WSDL being the SOAP Action and the input and output Schemas.

To summarize, you are in a situation where your wireframes and portlets are ready for services consumption but the services are still being developed. You certainly cannot have the Portal team twiddling their thumbs so as part of your SOA strategy you would have already thought about steps to mitigate this situation so enter the Simulator.

In my next post, I will go into the gory details of the Simulator and how you can go about implementing it as I have done in my previous engagements. So you will be privy to a lot of good information from the SOA implementation front line and I hope it will help and aid your own implementation.

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